DAVIE, Fla. | Defensive end Phillip Merling was in practice with the Miami Dolphins on Friday, less than 24 hours being freed from jail following an aggravated battery charge against a pregnant woman.
Merling did not speak with reporters.
He was arrested in Weston, Fla. on Wednesday, then released from Broward County Jail on Thursday afternoon after posting $15,000 bond. The court ordered him to have no direct or indirect contact with the woman, who is his girlfriend, along with other restrictions like banning him from possessing firearms while out on bond.
Court records show the woman is 2 months pregnant with the couple's second child.
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Merling is the fourth Dolphins player to be arrested this offseason, something coach Tony Sparano called “frustrating.”
“We'll let the process play itself out,” Sparano said. “We'll see what happens.”
Sparano also said the NFL is investigating the incident, and that the Dolphins are helping the league gather facts.
“There's a lot of facts out there right now and a lot of information and a lot of assumptions,” Sparano said. “I'm not a judge. I'm going to gather it. I'm going to sit down. I'm going to visit with him. I'm going to talk to him about my end in the thing, which I've done already, and we're going to let the people that make the decisions down the road make some of those decisions, too.”
The Dolphins have already seen defensive tackle Tony McDaniel arrested this offseason on suspicion of domestic violence. Running back Ronnie Brown and cornerback Will Allen have been charged with DUI.
“We discuss distractions,” Sparano said. “Those things have been discussed, without a doubt, and were discussed a little bit more today. But I'll keep the rest of it in-house right now. You know, that's the situation right now. It really is a situation right now that we're dealing closely with the league with.”